We’re Asking Our Veterans to Help, Again


Commentary by Bill Bullard, CEO, R-CALF USA

Near the end of May, we will celebrate Memorial Day, a day in which we will honor and mourn all our nation’s military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting our freedoms, liberty and independence while serving in the United States Armed Forces. May is also Military Appreciation Month, a special time for honoring and recognizing the contributions, sacrifices and service of the members of the armed forces, past and present.

Our nation’s military veterans are living and working among us in every conceivable line of work. And because many who served in our armed forces came from rural America, it’s no surprise that about nine percent of our food producers – our farmers and ranchers, are veterans.

But as we reported before, the latest census shows that in just the past five years, we’ve lost 107,000 more cattle farmers and ranchers from our food production system.

That census also shows we’ve lost 65,000 more veteran farmers and ranchers over just that short period. This is alarming!

This is putting our nation’s food security at risk. Our nation’s food security was built upon our family farm and ranch system of agriculture. That system was based on having family farm and ranch food production operations scattered all across America.

The strength of that system was its diversity and disaggregation, meaning a disaster in one region would not disrupt the ability of our citizens to have a continuous supply of abundant, affordable, and wholesome food.

But over the past few decades we’ve been losing that diversity and we’ve been concentrating our food production, which is why we’ve been losing so many farmers and ranchers, including veteran farmers and ranchers. Today’s agricultural policies favor industrialized agriculture over our historically successful family farm and ranch system of food production.

One of the reasons industrial agriculture is supplanting our family farm and ranch system is globalization. Congress has for decades catered to the interests of global corporations who don’t care at all whether America produces her own food or becomes dependent on foreign countries for life’s sustenance.

And this is why Congress isn’t supporting mandatory country of origin labeling, or MCOOL for beef. It’s simply not in the interests of global corporations to tell consumers where their beef is produced. Global corporations want to continue sourcing cheaper beef from around the world and selling it to unsuspecting consumers as if it were produced right here in the United States. The global corporations are making too much money by keeping consumers in the dark and they want to keep it that way.

But we can’t let this continue; so, we’ve devised a plan in which we’re again asking our nation’s veterans for help.

The president of R-CALF USA is a veteran of the U.S. Army and a cattle rancher. He’s drafted a joint letter that he’s asking other veterans to join that urges Congress to pass mandatory country of origin labeling or MCOOL for beef so U.S. consumers can choose to purchase beef produced exclusively in the United States of America. You can see the letter at And if you’re a veteran, you can sign the letter there too!

The letter explains that among the many interests our veterans helped protect and defend while serving in the military is America’s ability to freely use, without foreign intervention, her natural resources to produce life’s sustenance – food.

And it says, “But over the past generation or so, Congress has idly watched the exodus of hundreds of thousands of United States farmers and ranchers. This has weakened our nation’s national food security.”

It also says that veterans “are patriots, and preserving for ourselves and our children the family farm and ranch system of agriculture that helped make our nation strong is a patriotic and constitutional act Congress must undertake.”

And then speaking directly to the threat of globalism, the letter continues, “Contributing to the farm and ranch exodus of veterans and nonveterans alike is Congress’ deference to international tribunals over matters for which supreme authority rests with our United States Constitution.” 

Near its conclusion, the letter states, “We urge Congress to once again stand up for America by passing the American Beef Labeling Act (S.52) or the Country of Origin Labeling Enforcement Act (H.R. 5081), both of which will restore MCOOL for beef for America. The bills will enable beef produced by United States cattle to bear a ‘United States of America’ designation. And they will empower America’s consumers to patriotically support America’s cattle producers by choosing to purchase USA beef produced from their USA cattle.”

If you’re a U.S. veteran, we invite you to join this important letter. Please go to to sign.